Union Views: Why Danes become managers

Danish companies and public institutions are known for being informal, having flat hierarchies and giving employees a high level of autonomy.

Djoef’s ‘Work Life Survey 2014’ asked the same question to a wide range of potential and current managers, with business and university degrees. The question was: why did you become a manager?

Responsibility and influence
Greater influence and responsibility are the highest motivational factors amongst employees, and this goes for managers as well as up-and-coming talents. Managers want to make a difference and have a bigger impact on the organisation.

For many it is also important to contribute to global issues such as climate, the environment or welfare – to take corporate social responsibility.

Challenges and development
Personal development and professional challenges are rated second and third on the list. This indicates that opportunities for personal development and change are one of the manager’s top priorities in his or her working life.

Up-and-comers tend to focus more on professional challenges and development.

Leading people
Leading people comes in at number four for managers as well as up-and-comers.

This is an unexpected result, as leading is one of the key competences of a good manager, as well as empathy and good social skills.

The importance of leading people thus may come as a surprise to new managers. Leadership skills are crucial to develop from a specialist profile into a real leader who is truly interested in people issues.

Not about the money
Managers are not managers because of the salary or the prestige. Both factors are at the bottom of the list.

However, there is a clear indication that up-and-comers rate salary higher before they become managers than afterwards.

Are you surprised? What would your scores be?